Iron History

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11/14/2002 Entry: "Iron History Nov 15-28, 2002"

A Personal Note: I was willing to provide for free. But when so many declined to contribute money to the mechanics of keeping cyberpump online, and thus maintaining a site for, something clicked in me.

To research these columns takes me about 16 hours each. TheEditor asked for $10(not per hour but per YEAR) from each person to offset costs caused by the popularity of cyberpump's many aspects. This was met by more balking than at a drunken baseball game. So to those of you who are reading this, and thus have contributed, thank you. I am not being paid, nor are other contributors, and I think we all enjoy sharing. But I will add this. I have told TheEditor that if he causes to become freely available to non-contributors, then he can find someone else to write it. I work cheap, they can subscribe cheap.

There are those who say the site is doomed because not enough people will support it. They may be right. In the meantime, we will uphold our end of the deal, and if it fails, then the marketplace has so decided, and I will have about four more free days per month.

VIC BOFF Oct 22, 1915 in Red Lion, PA. to Nov 9, 2002 in Cape Coral, FL.

(I am absolutely positive of the year of birth as being what Vic told me on the phone. But I have also seen 1917. At the moment I cannot explain the dilemma)

Even with the firewall of hope entrenched against the unwelcome news, the news arrived anyway: Vic Boff, the first-person historian, wonderful human being, and flat out nice guy, had on, Sat Nov 9, 2002, stopped being able to 'carry on' as he always urged others to do.

Vic died on Bob Hoffman's birthday. Hoffman, by all fair accounts, was instrumental in furthering weightlifting in America, and Vic was instrumental in showcasing that nice guys can finish first. Like Ed Jubinville, Vic had no detractors worthy of attention. Vic, with the calm assurance that accompanies being right and righteous, went about his business of running the Association of Olde Time Barbell & Strongmen, a title that off- put many younger converts to iron who sought size via ingestion or injection rather than intensity. But Vic remained on target by honoring those whom he considered worthy of lifetime drug free participation.

Strength magazine had announced the beginning of The Association of Bar Bell Men in Jul 1927, when Vic was an adolescent. One suspects he knew of this and may have later patterned his organization's title after it. Bar bell used to be two words and was on occasion seen as bar-bell. Vic's organization held 19many dinners on the east coast, and in the early 1990's there was an effort on the west coast to hold something similar, headed up by Leo Stern and Russ Warner- that effort lasted only a couple of years.

Clouded in vague references and early articles about 'Tissue Drugs' in the early 1960s, word began spreading about steroids entering the mindset, then the bodies of lifters and bodybuilders. As much as this bothered some of us, it bothered Vic more. He had seen what real men could accomplish and maintain without the thermometer effect of 'peaking'. He had known strong guys who could lift what they claimed they could lift. It was a difficult adjustment for Vic to realize that the essence of physical culture was absent from a whole generation of falsies. Asking some of these bodybuilders how they gained such muscularity was similar to asking someone on cocaine how he manages such a cheery disposition. Same for lifters who explained progress under the mask of isometrics. Vic went to his grave cherishing the purity of a physical culture that ended about forty years ago.

Over the years, Vic and I would chat on the phone. If I needed a phone number or an address, Vic was THE source, and he would provide it if the person sought had not indicated the info was private. Sometimes Vic would call me to get specific dates and titles for those whom he was planning to honor. Within the past few weeks he called to chat about the sport, and about holding another honor dinner for the AOBS, and then I would drill him for memories of his buddies with old time iron people.

He had an aversion to honoring anyone in the 'Weider' group. He never came out and phrased it this way to me but it was obvious when he commented to me that the list of those appropriate to honor was growing shorter, and I suggested there were several worthy people. I mentioned some names, and they happened to be folks that had previously been connected to Weider, he danced around the topic and I did not pursue it because it was his organization and his call, but I never did understand the logic of how some of those who have been honored are more 'honorable' than some others.

Here is a note he sent May 6, 1991 responding to my query about the whereabouts of the famous 209 lb Rolandow dumbell, "Called Mrs. Klein re Rolandow bell etc. she didn't know anything concerning whereabouts of same- Also spoke to Grimek-no knowledge of its owner, etc. Will keep searching. Take care, keep in touch; carry on, Vic"

Sometimes in the evening the phone would ring, and thirty minutes later I would hang up and my wife would ask, 'Who was that?' I'd reply, 'It was Vic Boff'. 'Oh, what was on his mind?' she would ask. "Nothing in particular, he just wanted to talk."

Vic had known virtually every- understand this- virtually every strength star in America who was his contemporary. Based in New York, he was situated where many performers were drawn, and he knew them, worked out with many of them, saw their performances, and visited with them. He knew Sig Klein personally, and told me that Mrs. Klein was upset when Sig passed away that newspapers paid scant notice to the position he had held in his field. He told me how fascinated he was to have watched George Jowett stack 50 pound scale weights atop each other as though they weighed much less than 50 pounds.

I asked him about Warren Lincoln Travis, who in regard to standard bell lifting was of no note so far as I could see, though he had considerable fame for heavy, short range lifts such as harness or back lifts. He told me that he was once in a car with Travis and another lifter and it was decided that they would detour to a gym and try some standard bell lifting. Travis agreed, but appeared uneasy, and as they neared the gym he suddenly remembered he had elsewhere to be for an appointment�

He also saw Jowett clean an anvil by the horn-though not the 168 pound one that everyone associates with Jowett- it was more like 100 pounds. [We have shown via photos that the anvil Jowett was 'shown' lifting is not the 168. If, as is reported elsewhere Jowett could clean and press EASILY a 168 lb anvil, then what was his limit- probably as unlimited as are the tales about his strength?]

Years ago, Vic waited a few days after Prof Schmidt passed away and then stopped by to ask the widow Schmidt if he could purchase some of the professor's weights. Oh, she said, they have been carted off to the junk. His consideration for a mourning period had cost him some famous artifacts. But, such was Vic's way- show respect and settle for what life offers you. One wonders now what will become of Vic's collection.

I could not drag a disparaging comment out of Vic's mouth. Even when I knew he was unhappy about something and wanted him to express those feelings (such as some behind the scenes events at the most recent AOBS dinner), he was cautious in his phrasing, putting aside personal feelings to brighten the emphasis for the overall furtherance of the sport. Perhaps this attitude was why he lived to be 87.

The cancer that had been his unwelcome companion for the past six years finally won its battle, and the Grand Old Man of Lifting has left us.

A memorial service is planned for 10:00am Friday, Nov 15, 2002 (this morning) at 2430 Diplomat Parkway at the Hope Hospice Chapel in North Fort Myers, Florida.

Vic wrote for several of the magazines, here is a short sampling:

British amateur Weightlifter & Bodybuilder from Jun 1952 thru Oct 1952

S&H: Dec 1962 about Joe Greenstein; Nov 1980 mentions that he was selected as an historical consultant for the York Barbell Hall of Fame

MD: May 1969 Anibal Lopez; Oct 1978 Joe Bonomo; Jun 1983 tribute to Willoughby

MTI: Jul 1966 thru Jan 1968, and in the Jul 1989, a story about the passing of Milo Steinborn

Ironman Sep 1985: Vic Boff- Physical Culture Way of Life- by Ciola

Jul 1986 The Mighty Atom returns(about Slim Farman)

Jan 1987 epitaph for Mac Batchelor; Jul 1987 Tony Sansone obit; Sep 1987 Sig Klein obit; Aug 1994 Dennis Rogers

The Bodybuilder: Jan, Jul, Sep 1980

Muscle & Bodybuilder Nov 1980, Jul 1981, Mar 1984

Muscle-UP: Oct 1979 thru Aug 1984, including Feb 1980 on Breitbart

Natural Physique which later became the still current Natural Bodybuilding Apr 1991 thru May 1998, including Aug 1991 about Grimek's 50th wedding anniversary celebration; May 1993 about Sig Klein; Aug 1994 about Dennis Rogers. I do not have the most recent years of this magazine, so Vic may have written after these noted sections.

Iron Game History: four articles.

MILO Oct 1993, July 1995

Iron Master: Jan 1996 Steinborn; May 1996 Farnam & Mighty Atom

This is not a complete list but should give the serious student some places to find info about Vic. If there is a gym in heaven it is less likely named Gold's than Golden Gates, but on a clear night you can look up and see Vic juggling that kettlebell he was so fond of tossing about.

Also, for a list of the 19 dinners (remember there was none in 2001 because of 9-11) see ironhistory for Jul 5-18, 2002 in the archives. We have listed those who were honored and locations of the dinners etc.

May Vic have rest and peace, and may we continue to honor him as we 'carry on', trying to restore the grandeur of the iron game as he remembered it.

ANOTHER PASSING: John Pettitt, 55, suffered a heart attack and died Nov 11, in, I think, Plano, Texas. John was a judge at powerlifting contests and he wrote for PLUSA staring in the Mar 1978 issue about the Collegiates Powerlifting championships- a subject he covered the following year for PLUSA also in the Apr and the May issues. In 1981 he offered a couple of article on how to run meets; in 1985 a piece on how the 'World's Came to Be".

For Muscular Development he wrote in 1973, 1977, 1978, 1979 usually contest reports and the same for Ironman 1974, 1978, 1979.

I will try to get more info for the next column. If anyone has a comment, or a memory about John, please share thru the comment button, or email me.

Relevant to this: We will mention the passing of anyone who was connected to the history of iron, but, we must be made aware of the passing to mention it. So if you encounter an obituary or know of one, please contact me and I will pursue it. I once had a chat with a magazine editor who told me 'Our readers do not know who that person was" (meaning they would not care to read about him). He was right. But HERE, whether or not readers care, I DO, and will mention it. So please share.

HELP! If anyone knows how to contact either of Leo Gaudreau's two children, please share that info with me.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: Apparently, there was a Mr. Olympia (non IFBB) in 1961 and it was won by a man named as Tony Monday, whom I suspect is Tuny Monday. The search continues.

RED PENCIL HISTORY: Noticed one web site asserts that Health & Strength magazine was purchased by Bob Hoffman who changed the name to Strength & Health. This same website has more errors than Bill Gates could track. Sufficient for now, Hoffman never bought H&S, and S&H is an entirely different magazine, which ran concurrently with H&S for several decades. Some of these sites off information more off-track than a betting parlor.

Nov 15, 1898 Edgar Mueller born- the man who is credited with writing the book on Hermann Goerner, though, as you may have noticed in the letter we posted from John Dawe to me, John claims to have written the book and put Mueller's name on it to give him some publicity. IF, Dawe wrote it, then when the text refers to the author as a witness in PERSON, which person, Dawe or Mueller?

I have a very rare, and I think, never published, hand printed, text by Mueller from 1950- it contains wonderful history on the evolution of weight equipment and on some lifters. We will be posting it as an Extra in the coming weeks. It gives names of early barbell companies etc. Good stuff.

Nov 15, 1922 Roy Hilligenn born. As Muscle Builder Nov 1961 noted, Roy is a native of South Africa. Many other sources offer details about the contests he won in the 1940s in South Africa before he came to America. Only one source that I have seen- much more recent- asserts that he was born in America.

Nov 15, 1937 Clarence Bass born. Will he get RIPPED on his 65th birthday? He has been ripped for years as the titles of his books indicate. MMI serialzed some section of his book RIPPED beginning in Jan 1981.

First mention I have noticed of Clarence in LIFTING NEWS was Apr 1956 while when competing in the 181 lb class at the Teen Nationals weighing 179.25 lbs he managed to press 200, snatch 220, and C&J 290 for a 710 lb total. He is a lawyer by trade, hence the title of Denie's Apr 1979 piece in MTI referring to Bass as bodybuilding's Clarence Darrow. [whatever happened to Denie?]

Bass's Q&A column in Muscle & Fitness began with the name change from Muscle Builder, Jul 1980 and ran thru Jul 1996.

Nov 15, 1951 Mike Mentzer born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Mike was at once a brilliant man, and bodybuilding's Descartes. He thought therefore he was. On Jun 10, 2001 he died suddenly.

He was first mentioned in S&H in Aug 1971 page 50 where a photo accompanies his victory at the 1971 Mr. Pennsylvania. Five years later he won the American Bodybuilding Championships on Oct 2, 1976. After the 1980 Mr. Olympia which was won by Arnold, Mike was never the same because of what he considered the ultimate injustice of the event. But I am told, shortly before he died he and Arnold spoke on the phone and put the matter behind them.

In 1983 he worked for Arthur Jones and Nautilus for six months, and then from Dec 1984 thru Oct 1985? Was involved with the mag WORKOUT for FITNESS, which was aimed at the general fitness market, not the muscle crowd.

His titles include 1977 IFBB Mr. North America, and in 1979 his only pro win in the IFBB, the Southern Pro Cup. After the 1980 Olympia he declined to compete. In his last years, personal training and writing composed his income.

Nov 16, 1936 Isaac Berger born. One of America's better weightlifters, whom S&H reported as a member of the Adonis Health Club in 1953. His featherweight skills caused one to wonder just how strong he could have been had he weighed 198 or so. Some of you more aware of modern lifting than I may need to correct this- but did he not hold the C&J record at 336 lbs for more than a decade?

Nov 16, 1958 Roger Eells was ordained a minister at Christ Episcopal Church in Ironton, Ohio.

Nov 16, 1959 John Grimek's sixth child, John Darryl Grimek born

Nov 16, 1973 Jan & Terry Todd wedding. So, this is anniversary #29.

Nov 17, 1903 Dudley Sargent measures Pierre Gasnier

Nov 17, 1994 Brother Bennett died

Nov 18, 1910 John Fritshe born; died Dec 31, 1976. Name is so spelled. Fritshe's Health Center 22-24 West Cheltan Ave in Philadelphia (what is there now?) offered 'Body building, corrective exercise and reducing for men and women". His lifetime in the health field brought him honors at a dinner in Philadelphia on Nov 2, 1975. He helped in the training of three men who won Mr. America: Jules Bacon, John Farbotnik, and George Eiferman.

On the final day of 1976, sadly, he was found dead in his gym.

Nov 18, 1950 Charles Glass born. This appears to be his birth date counting backwards from certain references, though I understand he asserts 1952 to be the correct day. Known more as a personal trainer in recent years, I think his first victory in bodybuilding was Aug 21, 1976 at Mr. Compton. In 1983 he captured the middleweight at the IFBB World Amateur Championships. His most recent competition was the 1995 Masters Olympia where he placed 4th.

Nov 18, 1980 Charles A. Smith's grandson, Christopher, born

Nov 19, 1949 Armand Tanny won Pro Mr. America or Nov 13? Have seen a reference for both dates.

Nov 19, 1955 Robert Walker won Jr. Mr. Los Angeles, and Lynn Lyman became Mr. Apollo. Actually I was planning to call Vic Boff and ask if Walker is still living, and ask about Arthur Harris. Anyway, both these men deserved to win some titles that attitudes about their dark skin prevented them from winning, in my opinion.

Walker won his first contest, the Mr. Val Verde in 1956, and in 1957 won Mr. YMCA, Mr. Apollo, Mr. Pacific Coast, Mr. Southern California, and Mr. California.

If you have Muscle Builder magazines, check Oct 1957, May 1959, Sep 1961, Nov 1962, and Jun 1965 for info on him.

[ I realize many of you do not have these mags but this column is written as a reference effort in case you ever acquire these mags or if a friend might have them. I further realize some of this makes for dry reading, but my purpose to write toward information, not flowingly.]

Nov 19, 1994 Brother Bennett's funeral

Nov 20, 1897 Hans Beck continental and pressed 278.75 lbs for 3 reps

Nov 20, 1934 Tony Terlazzo and Vivian Soubier marry

Nov 20, 1937 The inaugural weightlifting competition for John Davis. At the French Sporting Club, 349 West 48th Street in NYC. He placed 3rd in the 181 class via 220-215-260 for a 695 total.. At the same venue two months later he won the heavyweight class via a total of 735. Things got better from there, so that on May 13, 1950 he received a trophy for being "The Greatest Weightlifter of the Century". This of course predated some other lifters for the final half of the century, but some of these awards are not worded corrected so that in retrospect they lose meaning.

Davis was a superlative lifter who was so well known that when a letter sent to him from Surrey, England was addressed simply, "Mr. John Davis World Hvy WL Champ, USA" it was sent to York, PA., and arrived thence to him.

In 1938 he began winning weightlifting contests and did not lose until Norbert Schemansky defeated him on Jan 17, 1953.

In his later years he worked as a prison guard, among whose inmates unfortunately was not the person who had broken into John's residence and stolen all his medals and trophies.

His obituary was carried in the Albuquerque Journal Friday July 20, 1984 page E7.

Nov 20, 1948 Leo Stern vs Walt Marcyan contest.

Nov 20, 1991 Gripmeister David Horne's son, Alexander, born

Nov 20, 1998 John Carroll Grimek died; born Jun 17, 1910. Middle name so spelled according to what he told me, "two r's, tw l's".

Nov 21, 1972 Ed Corney, master poser, won the IFBB Mr. Universe in Baghdad

Nov 21, 1981 Boyer Coe won the IFBB Montreal Grand Prix

Nov 22, 1931 Eddie Silvestre born in San Diego; died Jun 8, 2000. He married Doris Feldman on Jan 9, 1965. Twins Iliana & Lorena, and Elena came from the marriage. Eddie graduated from UCLA and spent five years at Brown Military Academy.

I have seen references to him winning several more contests than I have been able to verify, but here is what I can verify: Won Mr. Mexico in 1952, 1953, 1954. Won the Mr. Americas in 1957 (this was not the AAU America); won the IFBB Mr. Universe in 1959. He enjoyed a lengthy film career, and sent several sheets of paper to me outlining the film titles and his other achievements.

Nov 22, 1980 Mae West died; born Aug 17, 1892 (maybe). She had a traveling troupe of musclemen including Mickey Hargitay. The current issue of FILMFAX magazine has an interview with Hargitay, and he speaks some about West, and how when Chuck Krauser slugged him it was pre-planned for publicity.

Nov 22, 2000 Doug Hepburn died at age 74. born Sep 16, 1926

Nov 23, 1878 Lionel Strongfort born in Berlin, Germany. Died circa 1967. His real name was Max Unger.

Though he purportedly could bent press about 300 lbs, experts believed it closer to 225 lbs or so. He weighed about 180. See Willoughby's Super Athletes for a good summary on him.

THE STRONGMAN May 1924 offered this from William A. Pullum: "To anyone who can accomplish Strongfort's feat of lifting with one hand overhead a dumb-bell weighing 312 lbs- [he] was previously known as Max Unger." Was not actually a dumbell, bar was 'at least 4" thick, and liberally smeared all over with vasoline. Albert Attilla said 'It might have weighed an ounce or so over 190 lbs, but not a fraction more.'

A 4" diameter bar would be 12.56" circumference, and smeared with vasoline would preclude, I would guess, cleaning it, so the test was probably rocking the bell to the shoulder, which of course was always done with a barbell not a dumbell, so frankly, I do not understand the technique used here.

Strongfort also could perform the Tomb of Hercules with about 3,200 lbs but he advertised it as 7,000 lbs. Hey, what's a few pounds among friends! Warren Lincoln Travis witnessed Strongfort bent press 179 lbs for 4 reps before Lionel had reached his full strength levels.

Finally, Strongfort claimed to tear in half not one deck of cards, not two decks, but FIVE DECKS of cards at once. He used the Betty Crocker method, baking the cards in the oven beforehand.

Muscle Power May 1946 informs us that a portrait of Strongfort was hung in the Berlin Art Gallery by Kaiser Wilhelm the Second.

In 1924 he was advertising STRONGFORTISM at Dept 1376 in Newark, New Jersey. [if anyone knows his exact date of death, please share]

Nov 23, 1913 Orin Heller born; died Jul 29, 1996

Nov 23, 1963 Don Howorth won Mr. West Coast

Nov 23, 1968 Fred Lowe and Maureen McBride wedding

Nov 23, 1992 Jack Delinger's son John Errol Delinger, died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Nov 24, 1904 Arthur Saxon bent pressed 331 lbs. Earle Liederman, writing in Muscle Builder Jun 1960 offered 'I saw Arthur Saxon Lift' and this amount is, while not a playpen weight for Saxon, it most certainly was an amount he could do most of the time 'on the spot'.

Nov 24, 1924 Abe Goldberg born. By 1954 he was running at gym in New York City at 80 Clinton Street. His photo had appeared in the Nov 1946 issue of Your Physique, but it was a photo of him at age 15. On May 28, 1948 he was at the Central Opera House in New York City bellowing out a victory in the Mr. Northeast America. S&H back in Aug 1943 presented his story.

Nov 24, 1930 Vera Coleman born (would later marry/divorce Al Christensen), Vera is perhaps most remembered for her S&H column 'To The Ladies' which ran from May 1956 . She contributed to S&H for three decades.

Nov 24, 1956 Cory Christensen born on his mother Vera's 26th birthday

Nov 24, 1991 Peary Rader died; born Oct 17, 1909. Was it Leo Gaudreau who indicated that the past should be re-visited, not re-lived? Those current moaners missing Rader's version of Ironman must be unaware that in its final years, Ironman's circulation was indeed ready for the nursing home. When John Balik bought it, he was wise enough not to continue it's downward trend, so changes had to be made. Would Rader approve of those changes? Don't know. Mabel is still living, and one suspects, based on their comments when they owned the mag, that she would probably prefer not to see so much, if any, cheesecake.

But the Rader era of Ironman was golden. In an odd way, even while you were reading some of it you KNEW it was probably not going to work for you, but it had apparently worked for whoever submitted the article. It was this potpourri of articles that gave Ironman its patina.

Peary loved the iron- and whatever lift or exercise you could do with a bell- he was interested. His mag was a mixture of bodybuilding/Olympic lifting/powerlifting, and an occasional gain weight drink recipe tossed in from someone who had managed to add a few pounds by liquefying peanut butter and drinking it. Or somesuch.

There are those who say that old issues of Ironman are the best mag collectibles in our field. I would offer Your Physique as my favorite, or VIM (the Eell's mag), or some of the British Amateur Weightlifter and Bodybuilder. But, this is opinion, and is the choice of the collector. I seek history, others seek other aspects.

Nov 24, 1996 Dr. Richard You died at age 79; born 1916. Circa late 1964 his new downtown Honolulu building was completed. He is credited with helping Tommy Kono is in his lifting career- don't know if that is fact. Relatively Little (nine articles) are in my files as appearing in the mags I have filed, although after his Dec 1968 letter to S&H praising Bob Hoffman, the Apr 1969 issue countered with a 'Hats off' tribute to You. Most known for his nutrition endeavors.

Nov 25, 1907 Montell Torbit born; died Oct 11, 1989

Nov 25, 1969 Dexter Jackson born in Jacksonville, FL. Dexter became the 59th man to win a pro IFBB contest when he topped the field of physiques Oct 26 this year at the British Grand Prix.

Nov 25, 1979 Women's National Bodybuilding Championships in Canton, Ohio

Nov 27, 1897 Harry Barton Paschall born; died Sep 24, 1957. Known as HBP, he began writing for S&H in Sep 1934, and, of course, was an artist- creating the character of 'Bosco'- the likes of whom we have not since seen- a recurring character who often lambasted 'boobybuilders'- a not so indirect slap at Weider. Bosco debuted Jan 1954 and the 45 installments ended in the Dec 1957 issue. There were half-hearted attempts to revive Bosco by involving Duke Schneider, Tony Chikes, and 'Hector'- and in my files is a letter from Hector offering some 'behind the scenes' info. That is for another day.

Bosco also appeared, at least eight times in the British Amateur Weightlifter and Bodybuilder, 1953-1954.

HBP also wrote 'Behind the Scenes' for S&H which debuted in Mat 1945 and ran thru the Jan 1958 issue for a total of 135 installments. His heart attack Sep 24, 1957 was the behind the scenes reason Bosco stopped.

Nov 27, 1952 Gregory Paradise died age 50

Nov 27, 1980 Doris Barrilleaux was elected Chairwoman of IFBB Women's Comm.

Nov 27, 1991 Peary Rader funeral at Bates-Gould Chapel. Larry Cripe officiated, burial in Alliance, Nebraska, cemetery

Nov 28, 1912 Monte Saldo became the first Britisher to swing one handed more than bodyweight when he lifted 150 lbs. He invented the method of loading the rear end of the dumbell heavier for the swing, and used this method.

INCH 101: Part Conclusion.

Rather than repeat arguments from previous editions of here, please use the search button via 'Inch101'.


Sometimes the most innocent looking data can be very revealing. In Health & Strength Nov 15, 1913 p 510, there appeared the Official List of Professional Weightlifting Records in England. Edward Aston held 12 of those records, E.C.Smith one, J. Watson, one, and Thomas Inch held two.

Put your thinking caps on. Aston's one hand clean record was 243 lbs. When the lift turned into a one hand clean and jerk, his amount dropped to 199-1/2 lbs.

Inch, in regard to his two lifts did not have to one hand clean the weight. His right hand push record was 163-3/4 lbs, and when more strictness was demanded, his right arm military press amount descended to 106 lbs. and 10 ounces.

See a problem yet? Many years after this, Inch would claim that the full feat of lifting the 172 lb Inch bell was one hand clean and then overhead. He would further reflect that he had mastered this since about 1906. Well, here we are in 1913, after, according to his version, he had been putting the 172 overhead, at will, on dozens upon dozens of occasions. Now the problem with the 172 of course was the thick 2.38" diameter handle. But if all Inch could push overhead with one hand in 1913 was about 8 lbs less than 172, how are we to accept the cleaning of the 172 by Inch AND PUTTING IT OVERHEAD for the past seven years? Even if he could clean it, he lacked the strength, according to the record books, to push it overhead. Please do not mention bent press- Aston held that record at the time as well, and Inch NEVER even claimed to bent press the 172. Also, remember that a couple of years before this, Inch was down to a strength level that allowed only a 170 pound clean on a REGULAR diameter bar- which strength level would preclude clean two pounds more on a thick handled bar.

Further, as we now know from the scattering of Inch replicas around America, many men who can clean 172 lbs on a standard size barbell handle CANNOT in many cases even get the Inch replica off the floor, or at best manage a deadlift. ANYONE (read Mark Henry) who can clean the Inch replica, would certainly surpass Inch's one hand push record, and in spite of the bodyweight differences between Henry and Inch, actually because of that bodyweight difference, we are coming to understand that Inch had no basis upon which to make his claims in regard to the 172.

Inch asserted that Aston was unable to clean the Inch, indeed even clear the floor with it, but Aston held the one hand clean record of 243 lbs, not Inch. Could the thick handle make that much difference to Aston who, again, in the one hand clean and jerk managed the record of essentially 200 lbs?

Inch, in my view, and I no longer call it an opinion, because one must be a dunderhead not to read the facts as they have been preserved- not as they were presented, but preserved, and sitting around for years in yellowed magazine pages waiting for someone to thoughtfully read and compare all the variations. Frankly, this I have done, and without arrogance may I remind students of the Inch 172, that until the research performed here at and the discussions on the grip board, no one, to my knowledge had ever asserted in print the conclusions we have revealed this year. Oh- there had been rare whispers about Inch switching bells, but the supposition seemed to prevail that had push come to shoving it overhead, he could have cleaned and put overhead the 172. I think we have presented facts and analysis to thwart that position.

Further, though certain websites and other sources may continue to assert that Inch was able to do what he claimed, they seem to make this assertion based on faith without study. But just as in working out with weights where progress is not made by simply repeating what is easy, so it is with the study of old time strongmen and feats of strength. To simply cull unchecked facts and format new articles from them continues the original disservice of laziness. To those who bemoan that their sacred cows have been slaughtered, perhaps some other readers will acknowledge that it is rare in our medium that well done research yields such a meal of truth to enjoy. I began this study accepting that Inch was able to do what has always been claimed. Facts guided me to the opposite conclusion.

Oct 23, 1985 letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark, excerpts:

[please note, I have not deleted some of the vulgar terms. The only editing is in regard to names where XXX replaces a name. Someone recently said to me that XXX must certainly refer to Weider. Hardly. XXX refers to different folks even within the same paragraph. Also keep in mind that these were the views that Charles held fast- they may prove to be right or to be wrong, but they were his views, not mine]

I didn't care for the Charlton publications anyway and they always did bear the imprint of the publisher being in 'it' for what he could get out of it. Just my opinion. They seemed to be cheaply produced and as cheaply edited.

[Leo Gaudreau] He said that Liederman probably knew more than anyone else about the private life of Sandow, that he, Leo, was sick and fed up with what was nothing more than hero worship of the great Eugen. Also remarked that there was a lot of discord in the Sandow household, that Sandow liked the ladies a lot to which, naturally, Blanche objected stenuously, as women will do. But I always say that if you get a good meal at home, you don't need to go to a reataurant. Leo also told me that dear old Joe had offered to send him to Europe to do an in depth study of Sandow's life, but he had refused. Says he wish (sic) he had gone now. Also remarked that there was something 'queer' in Sandow's relationship with a 'pianist' who lived in the Sandow home. That once Schwarzenegger had written to him suggesting that - NO, Arnold had PHONED HIM- suggesting that they get together on a movie of the life of Sandow. Leo says he said 'Nay' to this and told Arnold outright that first, his, Leo's knowledge of Sandow had a limit and two, that he, Arnold, wasn't the Sandow type, which must have pleased the Leaning Tower of Pompous more than somewhat.

I see that there was a mention of a HALL OF FAME in the latest edition of S&H with a triple category, including one for writers- and a remark to the effect that appointment will be NON political. I wonder if I will be appointed before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Speaking as a completely unbiased observer, I can think of no one more deserving than I.

XXX a 'nice' guy-sheeeeit. I know all about his first wife, her name, how they met and even what happened on their wedding night. But that's a story for your visit. He was, so far as I am concerned, a loathsome bastard. I met him a few times and there is no doubt that he was one of the most good looking men I have ever seen, the sort that girls go goo goo eyed over. His physique was also great, but his personal life- as I say, that's a story for your visit

Thanks for XXX's address. I shall write to him and see what is going on. I think he deserves it, he and I got along real well since we both likes our drop of the Oh be Joyful at the time. XXX's cheerful attitude. I'd say it was laughing on the outside but crying on the in. You might not believe this but XXX is and was a very sensitive character and things personal affected him a great deal. His only daughter whom he loved did him real dirt and it just about broke him up.

So far as I know, XXX never wrote under any other name- too egocentric for that- and his 'Doctor' was a phony diploma mill type. He DID write the Atlas course as I may have mentioned to you. XXX was born-I believe- in or around the city of Norwich-pronounced NORRICH- in East Anglia, England and came to this country around 1920. He appeared to be pussy mad, and was always writing to XXX about kissing 'titties'. I used to get a big laugh out of it since I have always regarded the business of love as a 'With' not a 'to'.

Harry Paschall. He tossed quite a few knocks my way with what he considered to be barbed wit. But he sent me all his books with a very friendly inscription and once wrote a letter-which I never kept- sad to say, to the effect that while I rib you I still think a lot of you and your writing. He was on his way to take an issue of S&H to the printers when he keeled over and died at the wheel of his car of a heart attack. Very sudden.

Did I ever have a chance to meet Alan P. Mead - Did I. I was a member of the gym he ran when I was barely seventeen years of age. Mead was one of the so called 'Upper' classes in England, a barrister, or as they say here, an 'Attorney' and had a fairly bust and lucrative practice, but somehow or the other got into weight training. It may have been the result of his losing a leg in World War 1. Quite a handsome man like Liederman, but MUCH taller and with a definition that was out of this world. In an early edition of IRON MAN is a story about him with one glaring error. It presents TWO photos, one of Mead in his usual white trousers to hide his prosthesis, and another purporting to be Mead BEFORE he lost his leg. This FALSE. Though the two men look a bit alike, the two legged shot was of Charles 'Ras' Back, who worked at Mead's gym and ran it for him.

Mead had his gym in Greville Street in the High Holborn district, business, of London and I joined it when I was around 17 and well into swimming, making the British National team in 1931. Mead's gym was the most advanced of its time with tiled walls- light tan color and I do mean TILES- with insets of tropical fish taks. It makes me smile and curse to see todays implications that weight machines, a la Nautilus type didn't see the light of day before Art Jones came into the picture. Mead had them by the dozens for working any muscle of the body you can name and some you can't. Ron Walker used to train there.

Mead was married, wife's name was Jane, a long haired tall 'arty' looking gal. There used to be a tall story we all spread around about Mead to the effect that he obtained his his amazing definition by subsisting on a diet of lettuce and champagne. No truth to it of course.

We all called him 'Mr. Mead.' NEVER Alan or Al.

And so I leave you with warms regards to you and yours, Chas.

Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark Nov 7, 1985

Don't-PLEASE- call this 'Christian.' That I ain't, and don't believe in 'christianity.' I am an atheist, but believe that to do good, or to help someone else, you don't have to be what is termed a Christian. I know several of these. I call them 'once a week religionists.' They think that by attending church on Sunday, that sets them all right with the world and the first thing they do getting out of church is to utter bigoted words about niggers and Mexicans and Yids, And there's too much evil going on in the world for me to believe there is a 'God.' If there is, he ought to be listening to peoples' prayers and do something about it. Enough, enough. Sorry.

[Roark note: this argument is never used in reverse: When something good happens to people, others do not say, 'Well this proves there is no devil-otherwise he would not allow good things to happen.]

I had a letter from Horvath recently- did I tell you- my memory is getting so bloody poor. Bart seems to be doing OK. He too has had a hip replacement- or so he tells me

I once talked with Tilney about writing an article on him and when I got to 'Where did you earn your Doctorate, Doc, and in what discipline?' he clammed up. The article never did get written.

Incidentally I came across a VERY significant piece of history when I was raking through scads of Coulter correspondence the other day. Otley was writing to Gay Ng - promouned ENG and what a character, likeable. In one letter Otley starts to talk about the contest McFadden held to determine the world's best built man-sunsequently won by Charles Atlas. Otley remarked that he and Anton Matysek were also entered in that contest. Two or three weeks PRIOR to the contest, Otley heard rumors that Atlas would win. He knew that Doc had written a course for Atlas. THEN Atlas started, about ten days BEFORE the contest, to distribute brochures describing his course. Atlas won. Otley though Antone Matysek should have won, that he stood head and shoulders over Atlas. Otley then somewhat tartly remarked that 'I guess the judges liked Atlas's OVER DEVELOPED PECS.' He also said the judges did didn't consider him, Otley, because 'He is TOO muscular.' Now, immediately AFTER the contest, Atlas began extensive advertising in McFadden's mag. It is also rumored that McFadden had a piece of the Atlas action-course.

[famous woman] XXX. Cock hungry. If she had as many men's members sticking out of her as she had stuck into her she'd have looked like a porcupine. She is said to have screwed anyone and everyone she could hold still for a few seconds. XXX is RUMORED to have had a piece of her in the back of a car on the way to Las Vegas or Reno or someplace.

Someone asked her- in my presence- what she thought of sexual intercourse, and she replied, completely dead pan, 'The sensation's sublime, the movements ridiculous.'

All the best to you and yours, Chas.

I have been busy. So rather than posting three weeks of material to take us to Dec 6 for the next regular column, you will notice only two weeks are covered in this post. We will post a one week column on Nov 29, and then get back on track with the first and third Friday schedule. I say 'we' because without TheEditor you would not be reading this.

Replies: Comments(2)

Thanks for the correction; it is

Posted by Joe Roark @ 11/20/2002 03:41 PM CST


Regarding your invitation for correction to your latest Iron History � no, Isaac Berger�s 336 Clean & Jerk record didn�t hold up for a decade but it did last five years.

Berger made 336.186 lbs. at the Tokyo Olympics on 10/12/64. Yoshinobu Miyake broke it on 10/28/69 with 337.29 lbs.

I was present when Ike made that lift and recall that after his lift Miyake took the same weight, which he made rather easily. It surprised me that the record stood for such a long time. By the way, that was the final lift of Isaac�s career.

Isaac Berger is one of America's greatest lifters winning the Olympic Games in 1956, then placing second in the 1960 and 1964 Games. He was world champion in 1958 and 1961, setting 5 world records in his career.


Posted by
Gary Cleveland @ 11/20/2002 09:19 AM CST